Saturday, June 20, 2009

Grilled Sea Bass with Harissa Sauce

Last night we had yet another of my husband's mind-blowing dinners. Our good friends Zoya and Marc were over and as you may have seen in previous posts of dinners we've had at their place, we always have a lot to live up to. My husband did a great job though. We started off with a selection of cheeses that I picked up at Nicastro's in the glebe. One of my favourites, Benedictin blue cheese from St Benoit du Lac, Quebec, a lightly flavoured cheddar with port wine, and my new favourite Testun Al Barolo, a sheeps milk cheese aged in grape lees from Italy. This cheese is to die for, I absolutely adore it. The texture kind of reminded me of a parm but softer and with a much stronger flavour. Although it is my new favourite cheese, it's not something i'll be eating very often. The price tag that comes with it may leave you floored. $120/kg! I got a small little slice for $20 but it was perfect served with other cheeses for 4 people. 

With that we also had some spicy salami, red grapes and baguette. 

We also had the perfect wine to go with our cheese, a delicious (and my favourite) 2006 Luigi Righetti Amarone. This wine was a birthday gift from Zoya a couple of weeks ago and I was saving it for her next visit. It was well worth the wait and went beautifully with the cheese. 

For our main, my husband grilled some sea bass on the barbecue. The steaks were so thick and tasted fantastic. Even raw! The fish was super fresh. It had just come in that day. And since our raw cooking class at the Urban Element, my husband and I always try the fish before we cook it now. The buttery succulent texture of the sea bass was heightened by the harissa sauce that was just flavourful enough so as to not overpower the fish. We also had some barbecue roasted potatoes, blackened to perfection and also yummy dipped in the harissa sauce, and some wilted spinach. At first I thought I should have bought a white wine for the meal, but the sauce and meatiness of the fish were actually better with red. In fact, we had the perfect red for the fish, a tempranillo, lighter than the amarone but still with the flavour I love so much from a heavier wine. It was one of my vintages purchases a while back – Bodegas de Los Rios Prieto Prios Maximus Roble, 2006 – so good! Another fantastic spanish wine we had that Zoya brought and worth mentioning was the Montecillo Crianza 2005. All in all, a pretty decadent evening to say the least. 

The harissa sauce is a mixture of roasted red peppers, roasted garlic, jalapeno, cumin and corriander. My husband doesn't measure anything, but I did find a recipe on epicurious which could be used as a guide.

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